Ohio State beat UCF by 2 touchdowns, but there was some real causes for concern Saturday.
All week prior to the UCF game, Urban Meyer cautioned his players, coaches, the media and fans that UCF was a highly talented team littered with NFL talent. UCF was a decent opponent but the Buckeyes were beaten all day by a foe other than The Knights…themselves. Ohio State had 10 penalties totaling 79 yards, at least 3 broken plays (2 of which were turned into first downs thanks to Miller) and 3 turnovers. With all that, they still won by 15 points vs. a team that Urban Meyer compared to an SEC type squad.
OSU wasn’t hampered by the slow start they had vs. Miami as they scored on their first drive thanks to Braxton Millers quarterback draw right through the heart of the UCF defense. OSU put up nearly 250 yards of total offense in the first half and 17 points. Miller had 100 yards rushing by halftime and midway through the 3rd quarter the game was a 3 touchdown game. Rather than turning into another laugher, UCF stuck around and made things mildly interesting tacking on a late 3rd quarter TD before both teams were shut out in the 4th quarter.
What the Buckeyes need to work on:
- The broken plays need to stop. This offense gets Miller hit enough, they don’t need multiple plays with TB’s not knowing where to go, causing Miller to scramble for his life. This is all part of the newly installed offense and the growing pains that come with it.
- The penalties need to be cleaned up. Too many procedural penalties that constantly put OSU at 1st and 15 rather than 1st and 10.
- Braxton Miller has got to do a MUCH better job on reading the zone read option. Two plays in a row he read the defensive end badly and caused a 3rd and long. Both plays should have been positive plays if read properly.
- Ryan Shazier is a complete and total freak at LBer, however he needs to take better angles and read his keys much better. The long Storm Johnson run that set up the playaction TD pass in the 2nd quarter were both results of poor play by Shazier. A bad angle lead to the 48 yard run that set up a goal line play that saw a UCF tightened get behind an overly aggressive Shazier in the end zone.
- The OSU pass defense needs to be tightened up. From the defensive line to the secondary…it’s broken. Currently OSU is 99th in pass defense and 74th in sacks in the country. Those two stats are very much related. Ohio State desperately needs to get more pressure on opposing QB’s. Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington got a ton of snaps vs. UCF and showed flashes but very little pressure was generated. 1 sack in 41 pass attempts isn’t going to get it done. Without Nathan Williams it seems like the Buckeye pass rush is very average. Perhaps Shazier needs to blitz more often. Missing Williams(injured), Bennett(injured), and Bellamy(quit football) has hurt OSU and without a pass rush, even the most pedestrian QB’s can thrive.
- The defense is lacking that imposing, dominating feel it’s had in the Tressel era. Fickell needs to figures some things out.
- Ohio State needs a playmaker at runningback. Hyde is injured, Dunn is a freshman, and Rod Smith is a fumbling machine. Perhaps the addition of Jordan Hall this week with unlock this offense.
- Why…WHY did Urban Meyer accept that penalty after Adolphus Washington crushed Bortles on 3rd down causing an incomplete pass? Instead of 4th down and forcing a FG attempt, UCF converted on 3rd and long after the penalty and ended up scoring a touchdown to make things interesting.
What looked good for the Buckeyes:
- Braxton Miller…DUH! Miller completed 75% of his passes, ran for 141 yards and accounted for 4 touchdowns. Many times he was electrifying and efficient as a passer. Braxton Miller is currently 4th in the Big Ten is passer efficiency and leading the Big Ten is rushing. Miller is also tied with Le’Veon Bell for total scoring. In other words, Miller is a total badass.
- Orhian Johnson was crowbarred into the starting “star” position at the urging of Urban Meyer and he rewarded his coach by being a beast all day. Johnson was 2nd on the team in tackles and had a key redone interception that thwarted a drive by UCF.
- Travis Howard had another interception giving him 3 for the season which leads the country.
- Philly Brown has emerged as a go to player for OSU on offense. Brown had 33 yards rushing on 2 carries and another 48 in receiving. Meyer said after the game that Brown would be more of a focal point moving forward.
- Brionte Dunn only had 29 yards rushing(averaged 5.8 yards per carry) but showed more potential and will be THE guy moving forward with OSU’s depth issues at running back.
- What is working on defense? It’s not all doom and gloom on defense. OSU is currently 25th in the nation in scoring defense, 8th in rushing defense, and 3rd in the country in interceptions. There is obviously talent there, they just need to figure some things out and put it all together.
It did look ugly at times vs. UCF Saturday but OSU still won by 15 and put up over 400 yards of total offense. The offense is still very fun to watch and the future looks bright. OSU is still undefeated, something only 4 other teams can say in the Big Ten. For everything that went wrong Saturday, remember this…it could be worse, OSU could be PSU.
Dear Opposing Defenses,
Braxton Miller laughs at you:
As always thanks to Josh Winslow for the great photos.